A DRIVE to improve the support for dementia patients in West Oxfordshire has received a warm welcome from an elderly carer.

Jan Burridge, 76, has praised the region’s new Dementia Alliance formed to help people with dementia, their carers and families get the services and support they need.

Her 84-year-old husband Ralph was diagnosed with vascular dementia 14 months ago and she now cares for him at their home in Witney.

The couple were among those invited to the launch of the new initiative, which brings together local councils, voluntary organisations, GPs, and health and social care providers.

Mrs Burridge spoke at the Living Well with Dementia conference and said that grasping all the treatment, care and support on offer had helped them to come to terms with his decline in health.

She said: “We have a wonderful GP at the Nuffield Health Centre in Witney who has been there to help us all the way. It was a real struggle at first to come to terms with, but in some ways the diagnosis was a relief because it explained Ralph’s behaviour.

“We’ve found the treatment and support to be wonderful, but I think this is because we have actively got involved with support networks. I do know that other people don’t feel like this and so it’s great that efforts are being made to make things better for everyone.

“It is absolutely fantastic to see all of the local agencies coming together in this way – it’s just what’s needed, and I would like to say a big thank you for this.”

The alliance of public and voluntary organisations is the first of its kind in Oxfordshire and aims to address issues such as early diagnosis and creating “dementia-friendly” communities.

There are more than 7,000 people in Oxfordshire with dementia and around 670,000 with the disease nationwide.

Only just over 40 per cent of sufferers have been diagnosed and rural areas – such as West Oxfordshire – have the highest numbers of sufferers. The number of people with dementia locally is expected to double by 2019.

Cllr Mark Booty, West Oxfordshire District Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for health, said: “By working together and having the same vision, there will be a much a brighter future.”